Tay Bridge

Location type


Name and dates

Tay Bridge (1887-)

Opened on the Tay Bridge (North British Railway).


This double track girder viaduct is the longest viaduct in the United Kingdom at 10,711 ft. It crosses the River Tay between Wormit and Dundee.

The viaduct replaced the Tay Bridge [1st], 59 ft downstream. It is 89 spans long. 118 girders from the original bridge were reused in the new bridge. The original bridge partially collapsed in a storm in 1879 leading to the deaths of those on board a train crossing the bridge. The decision was taken to replace, rather than repair, the bridge.

From the south there are four brick arches, Tay Bridge South Signal Box being on the southern arch which crosses Bay Road, 24 girders below the line, 13 high girders which enclose the train and provide clearance for shipping, 12 large girders below the line, 25 smaller girders on a curve, and 2 steel arches over the Esplanade and Riverside Drive, followed by several lattice girders and inverted bowstrings to support the platforms of the closed Dundee Esplanade station. The platform buildings portion of the structure is supported on brick and a run of several brick arches carry the line east from the station to Dundee Central Junction.

The northern portion of the viaduct is on a curve to turn the line from northbound to eastbound on the approach to the Dundee shoreline.



External links

Canmore site record
NLS Collection OS map of 1892-1914
NLS Collection OS map of 1944-67

Chronology Dates

01/06/1878Tay Bridge and Associated Lines (North British Railway)
Public opening of bridge and line between Camperdown Junction, Dundee (Tay Bridge) station and Leuchars. The Tay Bridge [1st] was single track and the other part of the line double. The bridge had signal boxes at either end. The engineer for the line was Thomas Bouch, knighted after Queen Victoria travelled over the bridge.
  /  /1887William Arrol & Co
Complete the second Tay Bridge.
19/06/1887Dundee and Arbroath Railway
Broughty Junction to Broughty Pier closed to passengers on opening of the new Tay Bridge.
13/07/1887Tay Bridge and Associated Lines (North British Railway)
New double track Tay Bridge opened. (Alternative date 6/1887).
  /  /1889Dundee and Perth Railway
Dundee West station rebuilt with superb baronial building at entrance and large glass canopy covering the platforms behind. Station rebuilt with growing competition from the North British Railway's Dundee Tay Bridge [Station], to the south, following the opening of the second Tay Bridge.
  /03/2000Tay Bridge (North British Railway)
Railtrack commits £15M to refurbish the Tay Bridge. This will lift a speed restriction and allow freight to pass over the bridge (instead of via Perth).
  /09/2000Tay Bridge (North British Railway)
John Mowlem wins a £16m contract to strengthen the Tay Bridge with work due for completion in May 2003. In addition to allowing heavier trains the improvement will also allow Sprinters to travel at over 25mph in the curved sections.
  /12/2001Aberdeen Railway
English, Welsh and Scottish Railway spends £110,000 building an express parcels depot - a building and canopy covered loading platform for forklifts - at Aberdeen Guild Street Goods. A service to Walsall is already in operation and it is hoped to introduce a further service to London after the Tay Bridge has been upgraded.
  /03/2003Tay Bridge (North British Railway)
Work on the Tay Bridge to clean and paint piers, replace strengthening cross-girders and replace rivets over 18 months is completed at a cost of £16M. Following this work the bridge will re-open to freight.

News items

30/11/2023Can you help track down former members of the Tay Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust for 10th anniversary reunion? [The Courier]
15/09/2023Blue Iris: Dundee disaster near Tay Bridge echoed painful past [The Courier]
18/08/2022Would a double-decker road crossing on stumps of first Tay Bridge have worked? [The Courier]
03/03/2022Amazing image of hi-tech laser train passing through Dundee captured by local photographer [Daily Record]
03/03/2022How Thomas The Tank Engine inspired US author to complete new novel on Tay Rail Bridge disaster [The Courier]
28/02/2022Secret service: The mystery train which took Dundee ramblers off the beaten track [The Courier]
18/01/2022How the new Tay Rail Bridge was built - dramatic pictures show the astonishing feat of engineering in the 1880s [Daily Record]
28/12/2021Elliot Junction accident: Scotland's forgotten railway disaster claimed lives of 22 people [The National]
27/09/2021The Signalman review: Profound exploration of disaster is grippingly raw [The Times]
24/09/2021Feel your spine tingle with The Signalman at Perth Theatre [Daily Record]


A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain: The North of Scotland v. 15 (Regional railway history series)

An Illustrated History of Tayside's Railways

Railways of Dundee (Oakwood Library of Railway History)

The Tay railway bridge, Dundee, 1887-1987